Valdy’s Official Inspection

Just joining us? Read Part #1 of our Rolling Restoration Series here

When beginning the restoration process, one of the first items of business is to complete a proper and thorough examination – an annual physical for the car, so to speak. This helps us get a more in-depth idea of the condition of the car, and avoids the likelihood that there will be as many surprises down the road. This step is imperative to planning out a successful restoration, and being able to give the owner an accurate idea of the work that needs to be done. When a car has been in the family for a long time, the owner(s) usually have a pretty accurate understanding of the general condition of their car since they know how it’s been driven and kept. However, as is the case with Valdy, when a car has passed through multiple owners and has not been kept in a heated storage facility when not on the road (and no, the side of the road in summer doesn’t count and the rain is not the same as a car wash), the general condition can be a bit more of a mystery as the elements aren’t always favourable to the car. Even when the exterior looks decent enough to the naked eye, it is not uncommon to find rotted out and rusty floor boards, pipes hanging on by a thread, and parts clunking all over the place on a car that has been kept outside for more years than it should have been. No current or prospective owner likes to hear the news that the restoration process is perhaps more intensive than they are willing or able to undertake, so in order to give each customer a fair and accurate representation of the general condition of their car we prefer to do a full inspection where appropriate to do so. It was therefore a top priority for us to do a full walk-through of Valdy, both on the ground and on the hoist, and see what we were getting ourselves into. This step is crucial to allowing us to plan out each and every step of the restoration process and make adjustments to our action plan as necessary.
A proper inspection has multiple components, but in its simplest form we are looking at the condition of the exterior body shell, the interior, the mechanics, the electrical systems, and the underside. Keep in mind this type of examination is relative to the age of the car, as well as other factors such as how it’s been stored. 
The Exterior Body Shell:
Upon the first walk around of the car, the exterior body shell of the car appears to be is in quite good condition. Sure, there is some surface rust and the paint is rather spotty and tired, but all things considered the degree of corrosion is minor and there aren’t any panels missing. The wheel arches aren’t bad, and after a proper tidy-up they’ll be perfect. Overall, the shuts and gaps are pretty nice, and will only require some minor attention.  When we lifted the bonnet to examine it, we found that the front bonnet slam panel does need to be repaired, and the bonnet itself is rusted through underneath. It is repairable, unless of course someone out there has a spare bonnet for a ’67 Porsche 912 that isn’t rusted away that is just taking up space in their garage? Keep an eye out at yard sales, folks – you never know what treasures might turn up in between the Tupperware pile and Christmas decorations from 1985 that you will inevitably see at the side of the road this summer.

slam panel

 

Overall exterior body shell condition: 5/10

The Interior:
In a previous life, Valdy has already had a re-trim. Unfortunately, as can be expected with a car that has stood and been neglected for years, the interior is worse for wear with torn seats and musty carpets, and will all need to be replaced unless of course passengers are willing to wear masks when in the car. Good news is nothing is missing, and since we were planning on installing new carpets, seats, and the like anyways the condition now isn’t an issue. As you will remember from Part 1 of our series, the seat ratchets are not reliable, either, so those are definitely going to be done!

seats
Overall interior condition: 4/10

The Mechanics:
Having already taken Valdy for a test drive, I had a pretty good understanding of the general condition of the engine as well as the work that would need to be done in order to get it in top shape. We had established that Valdy drove remarkably well for a car that had barely moved for 8 years, but prior to lifting the car up on the hoist and as part of the inspection process, I did a compression test on the engine. Diagnostics revealed that there was low compression on 2 of the cylinders, so even though the car doesn’t drive that badly now, the engine isn’t operating anywhere near what it is capable of. By rebuilding the engine and transmission as part of Valdy’s makeover, both the power and level of driving enjoyment of the car will be significantly increased.

engine leaks
Overall mechanics condition: 5/10

The Electrical System:
Good news – all of the electrics appear to be working! No fire extinguishers had to be used during the inspection (always a bonus) and we didn’t see any misguided sparks, which is most definitely a good sign.  We’ll be giving the electrics a full overhaul to ensure that the wiring is safe and up to standard, but things don’t look too bad at all upon first glance.

no-fire-extinguisher-174
Overall electrical systems condition: 8/10

The Underside:
With the compression test over and done with, I secured Valdy on the hoist and began to lift the car up about 6 ft. so I could walk under and check things out. I was optimistic that I wouldn’t have too many unpleasant surprises when I started snooping around with my trusty flashlight – after all, how bad could it be? – But experience has taught me to never be overconfident. Getting under a car can be a bit of a wildcard. Sometimes, the cars that look the best on the outside are a complete mess underneath, and sometimes those that look worse for wear aren’t in that bad of shape on the underside. Besides, just when you think the car is in great condition underneath, you can find yourself with a concussion from a rusty exhaust pipe that chose that exact moment to fall off and hit you on the way down. Thankfully, walking under Valdy did not result in an ER visit or a tetanus shot. Valdy for the win!
While poking and prodding my way around Valdy, I was pleasantly surprised. The suspension on Valdy is in surprisingly good condition – remarkable really for a car that stood for so long. While far from what they’ll be when the car is done, the brakes also weren’t in too bad of a state. Of course, we’ll be putting in new seals, pipes, and the whole lot to bring the braking system up to speed…or lack thereof. I was also pleased to learn that Valdy has Koni shock absorbers, and we will hopefully be having these reconditioned.

front suspension
My inspection also revealed some not-so-great news: it appears that at some point in time, a well-meaning individual or company thought they were doing Valdy a favour by repairing the floor with flat sheet steel. Unfortunately, the end result is less than desirable and not structurally sound so we are going to cut the floors out and put new ones in. Granted, it wasn’t so bad that the floor boards fell out while I was driving the car and had to Flintstone it all the way back to my shop (oh what an adventure THAT would have been!), but the standard is nowhere near acceptable.

floors
Overall underside condition: 3/10
Once I was satisfied that I had sufficiently poked and prodded my way through Valdy, I lowered the car and moved it into its own bay so I could begin setting it up for a full dismantle. While I was doing the inspection, Dave was also working behind the scenes and ordered the Porsche certificate of authenticity. This piece allows us to determine the cars originality, and we are thankful to have another piece of Valdy’s story fall into place.
At RWM & Co, we believe that rolling restorations don’t have to bleed the owner dry. With careful planning, skilled craftsmanship, and a thrifty Scottish parts scout, it is most certainly possible to deliver the car of your dreams without breaking the bank. With that in mind, we are wondering if we can’t call on you, our fellow car friends, to help us complete the car and de-clutter your houses and workshops at the same time. Think of it like a personal ad for the car…

Hi, I’m Valdy. My papers say I’m 47, but don’t let that fool you – on the inside, I’m no more than a young and spry 25. I like long drives on twisty roads, exploring unchartered territory, and taking my friends out for the afternoon. I may look a little worse for wear right now, but after my tune-up they tell me I’ll be running better than I ever have. Can you help me get back on the road? I need some new-to-me parts to help me get my second lease on life and become a more improved version of myself.

In all seriousness, if you or someone you know might be able to help us bring back a piece of Canadian history, we’d be most grateful. We are looking for the following items for Valdy:
o Front bumper
o Front indicators
o Front chrome grills
o Front overrider
o Bonnet slam panel
o Bonnet
o Koni shock absorbers (or a connection to have the current ones rebuilt)
o Brake rebuild kits
o Main floor pan
o Rubber seals (all)
o Red leather interior
o Period rally/competition seats (if they’re in red leather, all the much better!)
o Race harnesses
o Carpet set
o Door lock set
o Gear box (1st and 2nd syncro mesh, or complete gear box)
o Engine parts – any!
o Exhaust system
o Heat exchangers
o Rear bumper moldings and overriders
o Engine cover grill
o 4 Tires
o Seat ratchets
o Paint & supplies
o Radio
o Chrome strip for under both doors
o Tool kit and jack
o Owners manual
o One of the chrome letters of the Porsche script…rumour is it that someone on the Spring Thaw (with a car that has the initials TT) has an original set?!?!
If you can help us out with any of the above-listed items, or put us in touch with someone who can, please email us at rwmandco@gmail.com or call 778.683.7554.
All things considered, Valdy is in better condition than one might expect when only looking at the exterior and we are confident that we’ll have the car running and looking better than ever. Stay tuned for Part #3 of our Rolling Restoration Series as we delve into what it means to dismantle a car, and plan the restoration process from start to finish to avoid surprises and stay on budget.
See you on the road,
RWM & Co.

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Valdy’s Big Night Out

It is a well-known fact that when a few car aficionados get together, projects are brainstormed and planned, and much excitement ensues. About a year ago, news started circulating in the car world that there was a new car on the block that had quite the story behind it, and it was known as “Valdy”. My curiousity got the better of me, and after asking around I was fascinated to learn that a 1967 Porsche 912 had been found on the side of the road on Vancouver Island, and had at one time been owned by the famous Canadian folk musician Valdy. It had been purchased by Port Alberni based realtor Dave Koszegi, and while his original intention wasn’t to complete a restoration on the car, once he found out about its history he decided it just might be a project he was willing to undertake after all. The seed was planted, and the wheels started turning.

signed print

Dave and I met several years ago through events hosted by the great team at Classic Car Adventures. We’ve done several rallies together, and have enjoyed getting to know each other and discussing all things cars. Knowing I was passionate about restoring beautiful cars, he contacted me to see if I might be interested in playing a role in restoring a piece of Canadian history. I was honoured that he would choose me and my team at RWM & Co. to help him transform his dream into reality, and we began to make the necessary arrangements to make things happen.

Of the course of several weeks, Dave and I ironed out the details of the project. I went over to the Island to meet with Dave and see Valdy, and to assess what needed to be done. We decided that the restoration would be carried out over a 24-month period, and on a budget to boot. Beautiful “rolling restorations” don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, despite what many people have been led to believe, and we were committed to proving that with Valdy. When it’s done, Valdy is going to be a road car, so we wanted to ensure that no matter what, it was safe and fun to drive.

Fast forward several months: the planning was done, and I was like a kid on Christmas morning! Dave and I made the necessary arrangements to for me to go pick up Valdy in Nanaimo, and bring the car back to my shop in South Delta. Only one small, minor problem: Valdy hadn’t run in eons, and we had no guarantee it would even make it back in one piece. We debated trailering the car to the shop, but decided in the end that we weren’t the type to back down from a challenge and that we’d give it our best shot. WE were up for it, but was Valdy?!?! Only time would tell. Gulp.

I was dropped off at the ferry terminal, purchased my ticket, and walked on. I was so excited and nervous – in a few short hours, I would be seeing Valdy again after talking about and planning the project for months, and bringing the car to its new home for the next 2 years. I just hoped it would behave nicely on the way home to the shop!

Naturally, the evening I was supposed to go we were dealing with a torrential rainfall, and crazy winds. The weather was so bad that I wasn’t sure if the ferry would even sail, or how rough the crossing would be, but fortunately for me it did and it wasn’t too choppy. It was a surprisingly smooth ride, and while on board I paced like an expectant father in a hospital – I couldn’t sit still, or help but wonder if I was completely insane going to fetch a car that hadn’t been driven in 8 years (save for a small jaunt to meet the Classic Car Adventures Fall Freeze participants in September 2013), in the dark with heavy rain and winds. Thankfully, I have a great office coordinator who had thought to pack me a small rolling suitcase with essential tools, a spare battery, jumper cables, and a few other bits that I might need. She was gracious enough to include some water, snacks, and my trusty Haggerty recovery card, just in case. Thankfully, I would only end up needing 2 of the 3 extras she packed.

By the time we docked, I was so anxious – we had a very small margin of time to retrieve the car and load it back on the ferry to return to the mainland, and there was zero room for it not behaving itself. Despite the inclement weather conditions, our ferry was on time – phew! One less thing to worry about.

I hurried off the ferry, red suitcase in hand, and was instantly met by Dave on the other side of the glass petition. He somehow managed to snag a yellow security vest (even though I’m pretty sure he is not an employee of BC Ferries…or is he?) so that he could whisk me away. Dave had organized everything ahead of time so I didn’t have to leave the terminal. He had brought Valdy over on a trailer from Port Alberni to Nanaimo, and had dropped it off in the boarding line-up. I was so appreciative and impressed with his efforts; it made a huge difference and kept things running smoothly.

driving to shop

Since we were under a huge time crunch, we didn’t have much time for small talk: we got down to business immediately. I jumped in the car, turned the ignition, and was THRILLED when it started up right away without a protest. Not willing to test my luck, I waved goodbye to Dave and the real BC Ferries staff, and drove on to the ferry with a huge sigh of relief.
Once I parked, I hadn’t so much as even set foot outside the car when the questions started coming at me. Valdy attracts attention wherever it goes, and everyone who sees the car has questions about its history and the restoration plans. Once I shared a small piece of the story and the restoration plans, people started to get excited that they were seeing the “before restoration” Valdy, as it surely will be even more of a showstopper when it’s completely restored and they’ll be able to boast that they saw the car in the early days.

The ferry crossing back to the mainland was equally uneventful, but as we started to approach the shore my nerves set in again – would Valdy start as nicely again, or would I be stuck on the ferry with a dead car, forcing the other cars to dodge me as they attempted to leave the ferry? Much to my amazement, it was on its best behavior and started back up again without any problems whatsoever. I drove off the ferry, and prepared myself for the adventurous drive back to the shop.

I was prepared for the car to not run, but I hadn’t been entirely prepared for driving in a torrential downpour on new roads that were not yet on my GPS system. While I was very grateful to not have to change a battery on the side of the road in the dark on a rainy and windy night, I had quite the challenge seeing out of the windshield as the wiper blades hadn’t moved in 8 years and were somewhat resistant to the idea of being woken up. It was raining so, so hard, and they protested by smearing the screen rather than wiping it. Mental note made to not pick up a car on the rainiest night of the year ever again.

After driving Valdy for a few kilometers, I was significantly more relaxed and confident that we’d all make it back to the shop in one piece. I started to speed up a bit, and quickly realized that the seat ratchet was not going to hold my seat back without some assistance. Naturally, I found this out the hard way when I was jerked to the back after accelerating. Oops. Luckily, the brakes worked surprisingly well. Thank you, Valdy. Much appreciated.

I soon realized that in order to drive safely and to keep from springing back, I needed to drive with one hand holding the seat ratchet in place and the other hand on the wheel. No big deal, I can multi-task. However, when it came to change gears, I had to change tactics: I would be cruising along at a steady 80 km/hr, perch myself on the front of the seat, change gears, firmly grasp the seat ratchet again, and only then sit back in the seat. I can only imagine how this looked to those who passed me on the road that night.

By this point in time I was in the groove, and despite the poor visibility I was thoroughly enjoying driving Valdy. Above 2000 rpm’s it was pulling quite nicely, although I did have to double-clutch to get it to change gears since first syncro and second syncro were gone. In all fairness, if I hadn’t really moved in 8 years I would probably be a lot more difficult than Valdy was that night. All things considering, it ran like a dream for a car that hadn’t moved in so many years.

About 30 minutes after leaving the ferry docks, I cruised smoothly into the shop (without having to call for Haggerty roadside assistance, I might add) and tucked Valdy in safe and sound for the evening. After its rude awakening in the rain, I thought the least it deserved was a warm and dry parking spot for getting us back without too much drama, and I was more than happy to provide that.

Over the course of the next few days, I had the pleasure of test driving Valdy (when it wasn’t raining too heavily, of course) several more times to assess what we would be dealing with. Each time, I was pleased to experience a relatively smooth ride. However, I did find that whenever I took the car out I had to budget extra time to allow for answering the questions of all of the people that tended to inquire about the car when I was out and about on the roads. Even though the project is just in the beginning stages, the excitement is building, and rightfully so. Both myself and my team at the shop are thrilled to be working on such a beautiful car in alignment with Dave’s vision and dream for Valdy.

SONY DSC

Once I was satisfied that I had a good grasp on how the car was running, I began the formal inspection process. What would we find when we put Valdy on the hoist? Would it be completely rusted out? Have we bitten off more than we can chew? Stay tuned for Part 2 of our rolling restoration series.

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Open For Business

    At long last, RWM & Co is officially open for business. Stay tuned for more information!

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